January 18, 2013
The Heritage Foundation’s Luke Coffey explains one important lesson Americans should draw from this week’s hostage crisis in Algeria:
This crisis in Algeria once again demonstrates why having forward-deployed military bases in Europe is vital to promoting America’s interest in the region.
During September’s Benghazi attacks, an anti-terrorism team was sent to enhance security at the U.S. embassy in Tripoli. Instead of deploying a team all the way from the U.S., the government was able to deploy Marines from a U.S. Navy base in Rota, Spain—a mere two-hour flight away.
A Heritage Foundation report on U.S. military bases in Europe explains more:
One of the most obvious benefits of having U.S. troops in Europe is its geographical proximity to some of the most dangerous and contested regions of the world. This proximity of U.S. forces gives policymakers the ability to respond quickly to a crisis.
To the south of Europe, from the eastern Atlantic Ocean to the Middle East and up to the Caucasus, is an arc of instability. This region is experiencing increasing instability from demographic pressures, increased commodity prices, interstate and intrastate conflict, tribal politics, competition over water and other natural resources, religious tension, revolutionary tendencies, terrorism, nuclear proliferation, and frozen conflicts. This region also has some of the world’s most vital shipping lanes, energy resources, and trade choke points. This is a recipe for instability.
The Obama administration’s defense cuts heavily affect the U.S. military presence in Europe. Ultimately, these cuts will reduce our military’s ability and flexibility to react to any future situation that may arise.
Do you think we should maintain military bases in Europe?